NHL Rumor Mill – December 28, 2021

by | Dec 28, 2021 | Rumors | 15 comments

The NHL’s holiday roster freeze has been lifted. Here’s a look at some bold trade predictions for the Canucks, Leafs, Oilers and in today’s rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre suggested Brock Boeser could be the Vancouver Canucks’ most vulnerable core player as part of his three bold 2022 predictions. The 24-year-old winger is a restricted free agent status next summer and his struggles earlier this season before Bruce Boudreau took over as head coach.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser (NHL Images).

It will take $7.5 million to qualify Boeser’s rights. While that doesn’t mean he’ll be traded, MacIntyre points out they can’t afford that figure as a launch point on a new contract if they also hope to re-sign Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller in 2023 and Elias Pettersson in 2024. “Something has to give. Or someone has to go”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser also has arbitration rights which could also complicate negotiations next summer. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $71 million committed to 16 players in 2022-23. They’ll also get $3.5 million in cap relief with Micheal Ferland on permanent long-term injury reserve. That’s enough to re-sign Boeser but won’t leave sufficient room to fill out the rest of the roster.

This will be an interesting test for whoever takes over as their new general manager. I doubt the Canucks will move Boeser but MacIntyre’s right when he said someone will have to go. Shedding a high-salaried veteran like Oliver Ekman-Larsson or Tyler Myers would be ideal but it will be very difficult to find any takers even under normal circumstances.

Luke Fox believes the Toronto Maple Leafs will find a way to re-sign goaltender Jack Campbell as one of his three bold predictions for the club in 2022. Doing so, however, could mean attempting to trade or buy out Petr Mrazek or moving someone like Jake Muzzin or Alex Kerfoot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have over $76 million invested in 13 players for 2022-23. Even with the cap rising to $82.5 million next season, that won’t leave enough to re-sign Campbell and fill out the rest of the roster. Someone’s gotta go and it could be one or two of those mentioned by Fox.

Then again, if the Leafs crap the bed in the postseason again, perhaps a core player carrying a heftier contract gets moved, which could make it easier to re-sign Campbell. That’s assuming he doesn’t decide to test the market next summer where there will be teams willing to pay him big bucks if he and the Leafs fail to reach an agreement.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently speculated the Oilers could make a strong play for winger Phil Kessel if the Arizona Coyotes would retain half of his salary. He cited Kessel’s two Stanley Cups playing with stars in Pittsburgh.

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector suggested the Oilers could attempt to trade goaltender Mikko Koskinen by the trade deadline if Mike Smith returns to action and plays well in the New Year. If not, they could put Smith on LTIR and ride it out with Koskinen and Stuart Skinner.

Spector also predicted winger Kailer Yamamoto could end up moved by the trade deadline if his production doesn’t improve. He suggested the Seattle Kraken as a trade destination, perhaps for Mason Appleton or Carson Soucy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel’s cap hit is $8 million but the Coyotes carry $6.8 million when the Leafs retain $1.2 million. It could get expensive to convince the Coyotes to retain half of their share. They’re loading up with draft picks for 2022 and could seek a second-round pick in addition to whatever else their asking price could be.

It could be asking too much for Smith to still be healthy and playing well given his age and injury history. It will be worthwhile keeping an eye on the Oilers’ goaltending in the New Year.

Yamamoto really struggled since his promising 2019-20 debut when he netted 26 points in 27 games. Maybe the Kraken becomes his next home or perhaps he ends up with another NHL club by the March 21 trade deadline.


  1. Here’s golden opportunity for Sweeney to grab Hertl or Chychrun & loosen up some baggage Ship Matt out with Moore. Get some better players or get off the pot and step down. free agent signings are not doing it. And why oh why is Foligno not riding the pine? Mr. Personality in the dressing room, brings nothing, by the time he scores they’ll figure out how to squeeze the toothpaste back in the tube.

    • RWM

      What do you think Sweeney will have to give to get. Hertl. And Chycrun? I doubt he. As all the assets to get these players

      • It’s best if you just ignore his ideas. He thinks the Bruins could trade their scraps to get someone good

      • What a lot of the nattering nabobs of nonsense don’t realize is that the bruins do have some assets, one has the potential to be a top four nhl defenseman Mason Lohrei, also Beechers expendable, package these two along with Studnicka a 2023 1st & 2nd .and Matt G Should get the job done for chick and Hertl

      • They don t have enough for both,I would be thrilled with one!

    • Rick…Chychrun is a good, young, physical defenseman and would be a fit in Boston and Pittsburgh..
      Hard to believe Chycrun is – 29 thats hard but he had back to back season of 12 goals and 18 goals thats impressive for a dman.

      What do you think it will take to get him? He is you g locked in @ $4.7 u til 2025.

      • Check your stats,Chycun is not 29 years old.I feel the trade for him has to include Carlo.you are trading at best a 3-4 defensemen, for a 1-2,who could play 25 minutes a night with Mcavoy for the next 10 years.Throw in Debrusk and the trade might happen.Yotes have multiple draft choices,need some established players for their rebuild.

    • So you are giving griz a second
      Beacher his stock is currently low and lorei. For chic

      And a 1st and studnicka for Hertl rental? Wound be enough? Will get out bid

      these teams will want a 1st. A top young player and. Top prospect

      • Throw in Zobril for Hertl as well, that should be enough I believe Lohrei can be as good as Carlo defensively and his offensive upside is better than anyone on the bruins d with the exception of Chuck. I’d be sad to see him go but we need something now, not in a couple months, Coyle is a good third line centre he is not a 2nd liner, And with the loss Jakob there is Noone in the organization to immediately replace him. If it takes more than what I listed for Hertl forget it he is not worth it.

  2. Vancouver needs to be able to sign Brock to a 2yr $6.25M deal to be able to retain him, Horvat, and Miller. It will be a tough sell, either Horvat, Miller, Boeser, Myers or OEL will need to go to make room is probably right.

    • I think Miller in Pittsburgh would be a great fit..but what would it take from the Penguins…

      Maybe Brian Rust or Jason Zucker plus a 2nd round pick????

      • Yeah, 2-29 year olds combined for 9 million in cap space, who don’t combine for 1/2 of Millers production. One of which is a pending UFA the other has another year and doesn’t live up to his contract plus a 2nd? How generous!

        “Where do I sign up” said no GM ever.

        Miller os averaging a little over a point per game. Swing and a disgusting miss!

        Can you think of a trade like that in recent years?

      • Captain obvious i suggested Rust OR OR zucker and a high pick and maybe a prospect.

        Like i sai Rutherford is there now he likes both Rust is an all star and fits boudreau’s sustem and Rutherford too.what else we add depends.

        A Penguins Canucks trade is happening what who remains to b seen.

      • Horrible effort
        Just sayin…

  3. It’s not difficult to trade kessel. Arizona has already paid him 4.25 signing bonus and only carries 850k actual salary. They can even get a third team involve to reduce the cap hit.